It’s The Little Things

October 30, 2008

For the last couple of years, I’ve been dreading a purchase that I knew was coming at our church. Every Sunday that I walked into the Sanctuary, I would look at the big projection screen, convinced that the resolution was slowly but surely on the fritz. We would soon need to replace the projector for a sharper image.

After an eye checkup with an opthamologist a few months ago, I just didn’t want to break down and spend the money on suggested prescription glasses. The doctor even said himself that my prescription was even less than reading glasses you would buy off a shelf in a pharmacy. But the recurrent headaches weren’t decreasing. So glasses it was.

The first Sunday I walked into the Sanctuary wearing my new glasses, I was amazed; almost convinced that someone had installed a brand new projector for us! The screen was so clear that it stunned me for a few moments. I had no idea what a big difference something so small could make.

Solomon wrote about how small things can make a big difference, even devastating the fruit of your life if you’re not careful. ” Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” (Song of Solomon 2.15)

My recurrent headaches? The more I wear the glasses (hard as they’ve been to get used to), the fewer and less intense the recurrent headaches. Amazing. “Smaller prescription than off the shelf reading glasses.” Who would’ve thought?

What are “the little foxes” that have stolen your fruit, threatening to ruin your vineyards lately?

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro Returns To New Hope

October 29, 2008

This past weekend, Pastor Wayne Cordeiro returned to the pulpit for the first time since his recent heart surgery. You can read about that here.

This is a great opportunity to observe how a leader returns to ministry after a life-threatening crisis at the same time as determining how he will (or for some, IF he will) do life and ministry differently. For starters in this particular situation, it seems that at the very least, Wayne is coming back slowly.

You can watch the message he preached here called “Things We Must Do For Ourselves” in a very innovative manner. In the beginning, he mentions that the church will hear the message in this way over the next 4 weeks.

While New Hope has many campuses and they do much by satellite and live video feeds, whoever brings the message (primarily Wayne) almost always does so live at their main campus with FIVE services every weekend.

Wayne has already mentioned that his heart condition was somewhat the result of pushing too hard by preaching five services every weekend for many years. So …. what’s a mega-church (giga-church is a growing new term for churches of New Hope’s size) Pastor to do?

Well, Wayne’s first message back was a mixture of video and live speaking. The bulk of the message he actually preached on video, which was done very creatively.

It was well-mixed with Wayne speaking the message and some illustrative dramatic and musical elements. Wayne introduced the video live, segued with some live comments in the middle, went back to the video, finished the teaching with a live special song with the New Hope Worship Team and then Wayne brought the conclusion of the service live.

This, in my opinion, is a great example of what I call “Finding Your Personal Pace“. It will be interesting to see how Wayne and New Hope will progress from here. I have a hunch we will see some incredibly innovative and well-led ways for a Pastor to recover from a crisis in his life such as this.

Folks, you can be the most positive minded person in the world, but you can’t escape the reality of personal crisis happening even in the Pastor’s life. How we handle that crisis can mean everything for ourselves and our leadership.

Do you know of another Pastor who has had to handle personal crisis from the pulpit? If it’s OK to share it publically, feel free to do so in the comments. Let’s learn how to do this together, so we can do it better in the future!

Adrenal Letdown

October 27, 2008

I’ve heard it said that preaching for an hour can equal the energy output of 3-4 hours worth of work. Multiply that for Pastors who preach at multiple services by the number of services they preach at each weekend.

Arch Hart, in his book, “Adrenaline & Stress”, lays out his study on the impact of adrenaline on a person’s body. He emphasizes the impact it has on Pastors in the book, as well as in many of his talks to groups of Pastors.

Over the last few years, with Arch’s help, I’ve grown to identify much of the awful after-effects of preaching as adrenal letdown. Preaching demands the use of adrenaline and I find that many Pastors either have no idea, or they completely deny, its impact. You know, we’re Superman/women/people, right? What might impact others negatively, God will protect us from! (In case you’re wondering, yes, my tongue is in my cheek as I write that!)

Arch contends that when you expend an inordinate amount of adrenaline, like we Pastors do when we preach, you are bound to experience a letdown of the adrenaline so that the system, the body, can recover and restore itself back to a normal state. There are various brain chemicals involved in the cycle, including serotonin, which can drop low as adrenaline restores, resulting in a feeling of depression at different levels.

How much time it takes to recover and what the symptoms of the recovery are can be different for everyone. For me, I find that on Monday, it’s common for me to develop a low grade headache right behind my eyes. I call it my “serotonin-low” headache. And there’s a general malaise that I often experience.

Have you identified the impact of adrenaline recovery after you preach? What are your common signs?

Connect To Pastor For Life Regularly!

October 11, 2008

Want to save a lot of time on your computer every day? Let me introduce you to Google Reader. I use it to track updates on a number of websites each day. I get to choose what sites I subscribe to, and Google Reader lets me know whenever any of those sites has new content. No more surfing from site to site. All the content comes automatically to me.

Ever wondered what this orange icon with the white radio wave-like symbol was all about? That’s an indication that the site you are visiting has an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed available. If you have signed up to use Google Reader, you can just click on that button anywhere on the Web and you’ll have the opportunity to subscribe to the content. It’s simple…really simple.

Now, are you ready to give it a test-drive? Let me give you two easy steps to get started.

1. Register for a Google Reader account.

2. Come back to my site and click the “subscribe to RSS” icon.

That’s it. Now you know why they call it “really simple syndication.” Here’s the best part, you can also subscribe to other websites using your same Google Reader account. Let me recommend these RSS feeds (clicking on them here will subscribe you if you have your Google Reader account set up already):

Well, you get the picture. You can subscribe to just about anything you’d like to know about using Google Reader and RSS feeds. The best part? It’s all FREE! I just saved you time and money.

There are other tools that do the same thing; however, Google Reader is a great place to start. Let me know how it works.

Another easy way to connect regularly is to subscribe by email. When you do that, every time Pastor For Life has a new post, you get it delivered in your email inbox. While I personally use Google Reader to follow my feeds, if you’re only following a few, this might be your preferred method of staying connected with us.

For you RSS veterans, what’s your favorite feed aggregator? And, more importantly, what’s your favorite feed?

HT: Tony Morgan

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro Resting After Heart Surgery

October 4, 2008

Wayne Cordeiro, Pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship (a Foursquare Church, the tribe I am part of) in Honolulu, Hawaii, is resting and recovering from significant heart surgery he underwent at Stanford Medical Center in Northern California.

Part of his statement reported, “My right artery was 95-99% blocked and two other places were 85-90% blocked. Nevertheless my surgeon was able to stretch the blockages and got in three stents, so I missed a bypass by a miracle. I am sore but so thankful for the “mulligan” I got from God.”

You can read his entire public statement to his congregation here. I commend his honesty and integrity in communicating with his church family.

He shared his personal story about encountering burnout at Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit in August of 2006, and is releasing a book about it soon called, “Dead Leader Running”.

Wayne pastors one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America, averaging over 10,000 people a weekend and only 13 years old, with no permanent facilities! I can’t keep track of how many services they run a weekend and how many campuses they do the at throughout Oahu.

I do know that Wayne is one of the healthiest Pastors I know of. His regimen of exercise and taking care of his physical body, let alone his spiritual devotional life, are well known. There are myriad numbers of Pastors that have been through his “Leadership Practicums” and untold numbers of churches that have been impacted by his “Life Journal” method of Scripture reading and journaling.

Not only do my prayer and concern go out to Wayne as he recovers (I don’t think he’d ever read this to know, and I don’t know him well personally), but God answers prayer whether people being prayed for know it or not, doesn’t He? I want to ask you to pray for him as well, would you?

The influence Wayne has stewarded so very well throughout his journey has been tremendous, and not one of us would want to see that impeded in any way! Pray for the saints of New Hope as well, that they would allow for this period of rest and recovery that Wayne needs.

We here at Pastor For Life wish Pastor Wayne a healthy recovery and blessings of peace and comfort to he and his entire family!

Distractions Extraordinaire

October 1, 2008

You don’t have to be in ministry to know both the rush and frustration of distractions. We want to know how we can avoid them, when the truth is that we can’t. Tasks we haven’t thought of, crises that we didn’t anticipate and disasters that no one could ever predict come upon us. They just do. Let alone the distractions we allow for one reason or another.

I am an email fiend if there ever was one, love Twitter, and think you should follow me for the fun of it. At the same time, I try to have some semblance of availability as a Pastor that doesn’t border on or cross the line of neuroticism. There are some distractions that are controllable, if we so choose. I know I must work at limiting them for the good of my own soul.

Thanks to my friend, Bob Hyatt, I quote Ruth Haley Barton, from her book, Sacred Rhythms, as follows:

“It’s not that I am averse to technology; I too have a cell phone, an office phone, a home phone and an email address, and they are much needed. However, I am aware of longings that run much deeper than what technology can address. I am noticing that the more I fill my life with the convenience of technology, the emptier I become in the places of my deepest longing. I long for the beauty and substance of being in the presence of those I love, even though it is less convenient. I long for spacious, thoughtful conversation even though it is less efficient. I long to be connected with my authentic self, even though it means being inaccessible to others at time. I long to be one who waits and listens deeply for the still, small voice of God, even if it means I must unplug from technology in order to become quiet enough to hear.

Constant noise, interruption and drivenness to be more productive cut us off from or at least interrupt the direct experience of God and other human beings, and this is more isolating than we realize. Because we are experiencing less meaningful and divine connection, we are emptier relationally, and we try harder and harder to fill that loneliness with even more noise and stimulation. In so doing we lose touch with the quieter and more subtler experiences of God within.

This is a vicious cycle indeed.”

Well said, don’t you think? If you’re NOT thinking about it or can’t grasp it, therein may lie the problem of which we speak. Just a thought!

Help When You Hurt

Who ministers to the Minister when you're hurting? Many do, and they can be found on this listing. Please find a friend in your area and seek the help you need today.
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A Place For You

Many Pastors are not aware that all over the country are a number of places you can retreat to for a number of given reasons or purposes. Find some of them here, get there, and find your pace!
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